Synopses & Reviews
“Traveling aerialists, elephant trainers and faux African pinheads pass the off-season among the more sedentary folk of Lima, Indiana, in this exquisite story collection.”—THE WASHINGTON POST
From 1884 to 1939, the Great Porter Circus makes the unlikely choice to winter in an Indiana town called Lima. Over four generations, the circus transforms this small town, providing a magical backdrop to daily life. Here, meeting an elephant can change a mans life or the manner of his death. Jennie Dixianna entices men with her dazzling Spin of Death. The lonely wife of the shows manager has each room of her house painted like a sideshow banner, indulging her desperate passion for the young painter. And a former clown trapped in a loveless marriage seeks consolation from his post-circus job at Clown Alley Cleaners. In Lima, legend and lore outlive the circus itself, luring contemporary inhabitants to faraway places in search of the adventure that has moved on.
CATHY DAY was born in Peru, Indiana, the winter home of the Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus at the turn of the century. She received her MFA from the University of Alabama and currently teaches at the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Pennsylvania.
A STORY PRIZE FINALIST
Dont miss the character genealogy and special author information in the back of the book.
PRAISE FOR THE CIRCUS IN WINTER
"Day's collection of linked short stories is as graceful as any acrobat's high-wire act." -SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE
"This is one circus act that doesn't rely on dependable gimmicks to keep the audience amused."
-THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW
"[Cathy Day's] elegantly juggled debut collection of interconnected stories . . . conjures a bigger picture of family-and of America . . . [A] bright tent of storytelling."-ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY
From 1884 to 1939, the Great Porter Circus makes the unlikely choice to winter in an Indiana town called Lima, a place that feels as classic as Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, and as wondrous as a first trip to the Big Top. In Lima an elephant can change the course of a man's life-or the manner of his death. Jennie Dixianna entices men with her dazzling Spin of Death and keeps them in line with secrets locked in a cedar box. The lonely wife of the show's manager has each room of her house painted like a sideshow banner, indulging her desperate passion for a young painter. And a former clown seeks consolation from his loveless marriage in his post-circus job at Clown Alley Cleaners.
In her astonishing debut, Cathy Day follows the circus people into their everyday lives, bringing the greatest show on earth to the page.
In her astonishing debut, Cathy Day follows the everyday lives of the people of the Great Porter Circus, as they make the unlikely choice to winter in the town of Lima, Indiana, a place that feels as classic to readers as Sherwood Anderson's "Winesburg, Ohio."
About the Author
CATHY DAY grew up in Peru, Indiana, once the winter homem of several circuses. One of her great-uncles was the world's fastest ticket taker, another was an elephant trainer. She lives in Ewing, New Jersey, and teaches at The College of New Jersey.
Table of Contents
Display No. 1
WALLACE PORTER 1
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JENNIE DIXIANNA 24
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THE LAST MEMBER OF THE BOELA TRIBE 45
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THE CIRCUS HOUSE 80
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THE LONE STAR COWBOY 111
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THE JUNGLE GOOLAH BOY 137
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THE KING AND HIS COURT 157
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BOSS MAN 186
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THE BULLHOOK 212
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CIRCUS PEOPLE 245